Screaming At The TV

In poker, Aces sometimes lose to deuces. A bad beat. The Eagles bad beat the Cowboys tonight. The better team did not win. I’ll take it.

We were screaming at the TV. Screaming at the Cowboys. Screaming at Jerry Jones. Screaming at Chris Collingsworth.

We were especially screaming at Chris Collingsworth.

We both told him to **** himself. That’s right. Sitting on the sofa in pajamas, the Foxes let him have it. Game get to us too much?

We are the consummate homers. And we’re fatalists. On the game’s first play, a six yard run off left tackle, we assumed all was lost.

The TV sound remained up the whole whole time.

“If you weren’t here,” she said sometime in the second half when I asked if she’d rather watch in silence.

“He’s limping.”

“He’s rubbing his arm.”

“Oh, that’s not good.”

We see more hurt and illness than any family of hypochondriacs.

The Eagles move on to the playoffs. They’re playing New Orleans next Saturday in Philly. Every game from now on is win or walk.

Too much tension. Can you be fined for profanity in your own home?

From Gate B2 At FLL

Our flights are listed as on time… even the inbound leg from Providence. I’m impressed.

Here’s what weathermen and baggage handlers have in common. We both use the 3-letter identifiers associated with airports to do our job. I’m at FLL, Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. We’re heading to LAX (Los Angeles International) with a stop at MSY (New Orleans).

Nowadays you have no choice but get to the airport very early. We saw the line for TSA check-in when we arrived Sunday. We’ve seen the jams on I-95 though Broward County. We left my folks condo at 8:00 AM and were at the airport before 9:00. The TSA area was virtually abandoned. Our flight doesn’t leave until 10:40 AM.

There is a Wind Chill Warning in effect down here! Please try not to chuckle. It was 44&#176 when we got in the car. The wind chill was in the mid 30s. At the airport the skycap who took our bags was wearing a hood… and it was tied tight! You don’t want to know about my dad.

We bought food and scouted the terminal. Now we wait. Thank you FLL for plenty of power plugs and free WiFi!

Our flights are listed as on time… even the inbound leg from Providence. I’m impressed.

It was very nice seeing my parents. My mother had been progressing very slowly after shattering her elbow. Now things seem much better.

My dad’s eyesight is great after (finally) getting the cataract surgery he needed for years. He wears hearing aids though it often seems they’re only for show!

Stuff About Katrina You Might Not Know

On the afternoon of Katrina’s Gulf landfall I remember an AccuWeather meteorologist appearing on Fox News to say New Orleans had dodged the bullet–and it had! The New Orleans flooding didn’t come until late Monday evening long after Katrina’s strongest winds were gone.

There will be all sorts of retrospectives about Katrina this weekend as we mark the fifth anniversary. It was the most devastating hurricane in generations. You have probably seen hours-upon-hours of video. There are still things you don’t know.

Though the forecast was a little sketchy early on by the time Katrina was steaming through the Gulf the forecast was well established. Weather Service warnings contained the strongest language I’ve ever seen!

But what good is a warning when you’ve got no way out? That was the problem that faced the very poor people of New Orleans.

The brunt of Hurricane Katrina wasn’t actually felt in New Orleans! If you’re looking for the real wind damage it was east on the Mississippi Coast.

No doubt New Orleans did have wind damage, but it wasn’t major devastation and we wouldn’t be having retrospectives today.

On the afternoon of Katrina’s Gulf landfall I remember an AccuWeather meteorologist appearing on Fox News to say New Orleans had dodged the bullet&#185–and it had! The New Orleans flooding didn’t come until late Monday evening long after Katrina’s strongest winds were gone.

Anyone with rudimentary knowledge of New Orleans and tropical meteorology knew this tragedy was a possible outcome from a landfalling hurricane in a city built mainly below sea level&#178. What we didn’t take into account was how this unfolded after-the-fact.

The storm hit early on Monday. Here’s what I wrote a little after 3:00 AM Tuesday morning

Rick Sanchez was on the air, speaking by phone with someone from Tulane Hospital in New Orleans. The hospital’s spokesperson was talking about water – rising water.

The hospital had seen no real flooding while Hurricane Katrina passed by, but tonight, water had begun rushing in and it was rising at an alarming rate.

I could hear the fear in her voice as she described the water level rising an inch every five minutes. That’s a foot an hour. Already there was six feet of water outside the hospital. Soon, water would reach the level of their emergency generators on the second floor.

Sanchez was taken aback. I’m not sure he originally understood what she was saying. It was so unexpected – so out of context.

She said a levee keeping Lake Ponchartrain out of New Orleans had been breached. The cut in the levee was two blocks long and water was rushing in unimpeded. Even if there were pumps working, and she wasn’t sure there were, they wouldn’t be able to keep up with this deluge.

On CNN, Rick Sanchez kept asking questions, but it was obvious this woman wanted to get off the phone. Speaking to him wasn’t going to help her.

I heard terror in her voice.

That was the first anyone outside the 9th Ward heard about flooding. Silently and under cover of darkness Katrina was delivering her fateful blow… and she was already gone.

&#185 – This is my memory from that time. I’d feel better with documentation. I mention AccuWeather because this is my recollection. Any corrections or clarifications are welcome.

&#178 – New Orleans was originally a trading post built by the French. When Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville established the city he chose to build on the highest ground–the French Quarter. There was little flooding in the French Quarter.

Our Busy Weekend

We found out his Mac notebook doesn’t have a VGA out port. He couldn’t plug in to the projector. Seriously–no VGA plug? I am surprised even though my friends with Mac always tell me how much they like their machines and how frustrated they are by some tasks they can’t perform or programs they can’t run.

For the Foxes this was a busy weekend. We had events Saturday and Sunday.

Saturday evening was spent with Harvey and Sandy in Woodbridge. They have an annual Chanukah party. We’ve been going most years for as long as I can remember. Ages ranged from 11 weeks to too old to gracefully ask.

We get to Wodbridge totally on smaller secondary roads. At one point we take a narrow 2-lane road twisting along the shore of a reservoir. There’s water on one side and a fence on the other. Saturday evening was extremely foogy. No fun driving in that.

menorahs-w250-h250.jpgDuring Chanukah Jewish families light the menorah each night at sundown. The tradition at Harvey and Sandy’s party is all the families bring their own menorahs and light them at once–which was great because the party used to be early in Chanukah.

Saturday each family lit seven candles plus an additional ‘helper’ candle. Helaine and I discussed standing by with 9-1 dialed on the cellphone. The dining room was noticably warmed by all those candles.

We look forward to the “pigs in blankets” served each year. As we walked in someone was carrying them to the basement. That’s where the kids usually hang out. Did we go downstairs just for the pigs? I’ll never tell.

Harvey always has fun toys to play with. This time he had X-Plane installed. Running on his Mac with a flight yoke and pedals it was amazingly fun to fly. It was impossible for me to easily control.

One of their three grown, daughters&#185 was home. She works in New York as a production assistant on some Bravo productions. Both Helaine and Stef were impressed she was working on Top Chef, which they enjoy and I’ve never seen.

Sunday the occasion was totally different. It was my friend Farrell’s mother’s 90th birthday. Being 90 is a difficult job. Ruth is equal to the task.

I wrote about Ruth in August 2005. She was about to get caught up in one of the biggest news stories of the decade.

I just got off the phone with my friend’s mom in New Orleans.

We’ve never met in person, but she knows me. I’ve fixed her computer by remote control. She’s seen me on TV while visiting her daughter in Connecticut. I’ve known her son for over 25 years and he’s a trusted friend.

She understands I’m looking out for her.

“Leave,” I said. “Leave now.”

ruth_meisel.jpgRuth lives in Connecticut now, near her daughter. Her home was flooded and destroyed in Katrina’s aftermath.

A few days ago Farrell sent me an email, looking for a way to make a slideshow of family photographs. I suggested Animoto. Farrell came with the slideshow in his laptop…his Mac laptop.

That’s when we found out his Mac notebook doesn’t have a VGA out port. He couldn’t plug in to the projector. Seriously–no VGA plug? I am surprised even though my friends with Mac always tell me how much they like their machines and how frustrated they are by some tasks they can’t perform or programs they can’t run.

I found a way to convert the slideshow video to an m4v file (never heard of it before) which was somehow compatible with another laptop–a Dell. We used ‘sneaker net’ in the form of a USB stick to move it. The slideshow did go on.

At age 90 you get a note from your congressman (Rep. Rosa DeLauro) and a proclamation from the governor declaring your birthday as Ruth Meisel Day in Connecticut.

Ruth wore a crown. It’s good to be Queen.

&#185 – Sandy went to the hospital to give birth to their second child. It was only after the delivery they discovered there was one more child in there. Really.

The Numbers Are In

Nielen ratings are in for last night’s debate

The Nielsen ratings are in for last night’s debate. I’m confused by the list of stations aggregated which doesn’t include Fox News and MSNBC, both of which would add significantly to the final total.

If these overnight numbers stand, the ratings are well below other recent debates.

OK–I’m a little surprised. I thought for sure there would be a lot more interest considering all the buzz.



DMA Rank Market RTG Rank RTG SHR (000) 21 St. Louis 1 52.1 82.0 649 48 Memphis 2 49.5 67.0 330 26 Baltimore 3 47.1 66.0 515 9 Washington, DC (Hagrstwn) 4 44.6 68.0 1030 29 Nashville 5 44.0 66.0 424 46 Greensboro-H.Point-W.Salem 6 42.2 61.0 285 32 Columbus, OH 7 41.5 63.0 377 43 Norfolk-Portsmth-Newpt Nws 8 41.4 59.0 298 58 Richmond-Petersburg 9 40.3 55.0 211 18 Denver 10 39.7 65.0 586 24 Charlotte 11 39.3 54.0 426 7 Boston (Manchester) 12 39.3 58.0 944 22 Portland, OR 13 39.0 74.0 450 31 Kansas City 14 37.7 61.0 350 16 Miami-Ft. Lauderdale 15 37.2 52.0 573 38 West Palm Beach-Ft. Pierce 16 36.4 55.0 282 27 Raleigh-Durham (Fayetvlle) 17 36.2 54.0 377 51 Buffalo 18 36.1 54.0 230 25 Indianapolis 19 35.3 59.0 379 53 New Orleans 20 34.8 48 209 11 Detroit 21 34.3 55.0 661 59 Knoxville 22 34.3 51.0 185 61 Tulsa 23 34.1 55.0 178 45 Oklahoma City 24 34.0 55.0 231 40 Birmingham (Ann and Tusc) 25 33.5 48.0 245 52 Providence-New Bedford 26 33.5 50.0 211 15 Minneapolis-St. Paul 27 33.4 59.0 569 19 Orlando-Daytona Bch-Melbrn 28 33.4 52.0 479 62 Ft. Myers-Naples 29 33.3 51.0 164 28 San Diego 30 33.0 59.0 349 50 Louisville 31 33.0 48.0 218 17 Cleveland-Akron (Canton) 32 32.9 55.0 505 37 San Antonio 33 32.9 48.0 261 20 Sacramnto-Stkton-Modesto 34 32.7 55.0 454 4 Philadelphia 35 32.1 51.0 941 44 Albuquerque-Santa Fe 36 32.1 50.0 218 23 Pittsburgh 37 32.1 51.0 371 6 San Francisco-Oak-San Jose 38 32.0 62.0 779 13 Tampa-St. Pete (Sarasota) 39 31.7 49.0 569 49 Austin 40 31.6 52.0 201 36 Greenvll-Spart-Ashevll-And 41 31.5 46.0 265 64 Dayton 42 31.4 50.0 161 1 New York 43 31.3 48.0 2317 8 Atlanta 44 30.9 52.0 714 3 Chicago 45 30.7 51.0 1067 14 Seattle-Tacoma 46 30.3 58.0 541 30 Hartford & New Haven 47 30.2 45.0 306 47 Jacksonville 48 30.0 47.0 196 33 Salt Lake City 49 29.9 63.0 261 35 Milwaukee 50 29.2 49.0 262 34 Cincinnati 51 28.3 49.0 256 42 Las Vegas 52 27.9 46.0 196 5 Dallas-Ft. Worth 53 27.7 46.0 671 2 Los Angeles 54 26.4 50.0 1484 12 Phoenix (Prescott) 55 24.8 47.0 448 10 Houston* 56 0.0 0.0 0 Weighted Avg. of 55 markets* 33.2

Gustav–Watch This

I’ve been watching the water level in the New Orleans canals protected by levees. They’re still high. They have not begun to recede.

Gustav has come onshore in Louisiana. As of this moment the impact has been less than feared. That’s the best I could have possibly written, isn’t it?

Meanwhile, though the storm is pulling away, the danger is not done. I’ve been watching the water level in the New Orleans canals protected by levees. They’re still high. They have not begun to recede. As long as the water levels are high the pressure on the levees will remain high.

Here’s where you can see the water level yourself.

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